Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to Know if Your Husband is GAY?

A couple of weeks ago a friend sent me a link to a article with 15 signs to tell if your husband is gay. This drew my eye, however I'm not sure how seriously to take it. I wasn't familiar with On first look it has every appearance of a real conservative Christian website, yet the more I explore the more it takes on a certain subversive Stephen Cobert kind of a tone... and the funnier it gets.

Well, I suppose this is a case of if you don't get the joke, maybe its because the joke is on you. Joke or not -- married or not, I wanted to see how I fit into the checklist -- just for fun. Depending on the answers I night even lose my official gay certification altogether. One can hope.  Here I go! 

1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers.
  • Yes, I have to say I am very private about my cell and computer usage, but no more than most I think.

2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way.
  • Actually I'm a bit shy about eye to eye contact with someone I find attractive. It makes me blush just thinking about it. There is a thrill in the moment when you look at that guy across the room and you realize they're sending you a flirty look back.

3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups.
  • This may be true, but if I'm inattentive in Church it's mostly because I'm bored.

4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home.
  • "Natural men have a certain amount of grit about them. They sweat and they smell." The article states. I won't own up to sweating or smelling too badly, but I guess I do have a bit of grit round about my place once in a while.

5) Gym membership but no interest in sports.
  • Nope to both. No gym memberships for me, and I'm not a big sports guy, though like a true masochist I'm a huge Chicago Cubs fan.

6) Clothes that are too tight and too “trendy”.
  • "Skinny" jeans are as trendy as my wardrobe gets.

7) Strange sexual demands.
  • Next!

8) More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films.
  • Well, duh!

9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia.
  • No, but for dinner I reheated some General Tso's Chicken Chinese takeout.

10) Too many friendly young male friends.
  • How can someone have too many?

11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends.
  • I'm all that and a bag of chips.

12) Love of pop culture.
  • This is true! I've read the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly front to back, while the Ensign is practically untouched.

13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public.
  • I'm shy about my bare chest in private!

14) Sudden heavy drinking.
  • Not unless you include the ice cold Diet Sunkist I'm sipping on.

15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay? 
  • The article says, "If you answered yes, you should ask yourself whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion. Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children? Ultimately, it’s a question of getting your priorities straight!"

Now that's a comprehensive list! Based on this I'm now prepared to warn any female marriage prospects about my smoldering, below the surface status as a homosexual.

All are forewarned.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Still Not Asking... Still Not Telling.

If you were within a five block radius of my apartment yesterday evening chances are you heard what sounded like stifled screams. Don't worry, though. This did not come from a poorly soundproofed sweatshop full of migrant workers chained up in my basement, nor from a secret mental facility illegally operating within my domicile.

No, I'm fairly sure it was the sound of me watching the evening news. I used to have a much higher tolerance for it, but some days even limited exposure is enough to set me off. I've had reasons aplenty this week to be a little pissy, but tonight I had to close my eyes and find my happy place before I went full on apoplectic. I am proud of myself for limiting the verbal/physical abuse to a couple of stunned cacti I keep potted near my back porch.

I guess what has gotten my tits in a wringer this week has been the failure of the United States Senate to repeal the shameful and antiquated Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. A whopping 75% of Americans agree with me that DADT is a sucky policy, and its damn hard to find an issue that three quarters of everyone can unite on. The very idea is simply  absurd that we still exclude gay people from the ability to serve in the military openly, while also reserving the right to conduct spiteful and expensive witch hunts against them on a whim.

I really don't understand why the GOP and friends are still putting up a fight about it. Why not look good for once and lead the charge against something that is so clearly on the way out with the other trash from the dustbin of history. I mean is there anyone who really doubts this will continue as an issue much further in the future? The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell is simply a demographic inevitability.

The fact is the Republicans Party is not the only villain of this story. Democrats stand silently by, as their own feckless little Legion of Doom. I've seen Mr Smith Goes to Washington. I know how this should go down. We gotta have a real Frank Capra moment in this county. When some Senator from the opposition threatens a filibuster, by golly, they should be forced to follow through. When southern racists fought against the passage of civil rights, they were forced to actually get their asses out there on the floor of the senate and filibuster. If you are going to block a vote that 75% of Americans agree on, that person should have to defend his position in the well of the U.S. Senate. We've had enough of this brand of phony Democratic leadership offering little more than poorly delivered lip service to the gay community. (So to speak.)

Even if our Mormon brother Harry Reid lacks the ability to use his position in the Senate effectively, it is President Obama who withholds much more power than he's been using. A study last year shows that the President could unilaterally halt gay discharges from the military anytime by signing a simple executive order. It makes me start to believe what they say; that both democrats and Republicans get more out of keeping gay issues alive than they do by solving them.

And may I just say one more thing?  At what point did our most effective spokesperson for this issue become Lady Gaga? We can't get Snookie or even a Kardashian? I'm not much of a fan of Gaga to be honest, but I was impressed when she arrived at the MTV Video Music Awards escorting gay men and women who served in the military and were discharged because of their sexuality. Her message might have lost a little credibility however, when she walked on stage wearing a meat dress requiring a butcher as well as a seamstress.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why Being Single is Not Such a Good Thing...

Why being single is not so great?

Well... I find myself awake on the couch at 4:30 AM, watching the last of the Mad Men episodes I have stored on the DVR, dipping apple wedges into a jar of Skippy peanut butter and drinking a large mug of Ovaltine...

And there's no one to remind me I  have work in a few hours and to get my lazy ass up and go to bed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Culinary Perversion... or What I Had for Lunch Yesterday.

Heaven knows I am a sinner.

There's no getting around that.

I'm constantly repenting for something, and most of the time I do feel bad about my infractions, but there is a sin I get caught in day after day. I'd feel worse about this sin if it wasn't so satisfying... so enticing.

The deadly sin I confess is Gluttony. [gasp!] I struggle with others. Sloth maybe, Envy perhaps, and most days just a gust of wind is enough to whip up some Lust (what can I say?), but I relish in Gluttony! (Sorry! Stupid puns should be the eighth deadly sin.)

I love a good meal! Be it prepared by a chef and served on china, or come hot off the burrito wagon and served on Chinet -- as long as its clean, fresh, and tasty I'm not a snob. To me a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese, when made correctly, can be proudly served along side my pan seared Rib-eye with sherry vinegar steak sauce. I love to eat, and I have the appetite to match a plague of crickets devouring the pioneer's crops.

And look out! When I'm hungry I get a little cranky. Just keep your fingers out of the range of my mouth and you'll be fine.

Not surprisingly I'm a fan of fast food. In an effort to assemble the perfect meal I once drove around on a double date to Burger King for Whoppers, McDonald's for fries, Jack in the Box for salads, Taco Bell for an ice cold Mountain Dew Baja Blast, and then topped it all off with Frostys from Wendy's.  We took our "movable feast" to a park and laughed as we consumed our one in a million meal.

With fast food there rarely are any real surprises. My Big Mac here should taste just like the one I ate in Times Square, and that in turn should taste just like the one I first had at the age of ten. Its the food's consistency that gives it it's power. It's called comfort food because you know exactly what you're going to get.

Yesterday, however, I was introduced to something truly unexpected... even a little scary

My best friend Josh was supposed to come over to my place after work, and called to say he was running late. When I mentioned that I was hungry, he offered to pick us up something. I suggested pizza, but he cryptically said he had something else in mind. I started to ask questions, but he cut me off midsentance, and told me to wait and see. Thirty minutes later he showed up with a huge McDonald's bag and said triumphantly, "I bring you the McGangBang!"

"The what?" I said suddenly unsure I still had an appetite.

"Yeah, I know the name is kinda crude, but give it a chance." He said with a smile. "People at work have been talking about it. It's strictly an off-menu item, but the McDonald's down by the University will make them on demand."

We sat down and I unwrapped my sandwich. What I found was  a gastronomic bastard child -- a burger formed by the unholy union of two popular items from the Dollar Menu: the double cheeseburger and a McChicken sandwich. In what is an act against nature, an entire McChicken sandwich is placed between the patties of a double cheeseburger!  It wasn't pretty, but it was impressive, not to mention cost-effective. One McGangBang can be yours at a recession busting $2.16. Without a doubt, it's a sandwich that's more than the sum of its parts.

Josh went on to tell me that if they used a spicy McChicken instead of just the regular McChicken, it would have been called an "Unprotected McGangBang". I was glad he had started me out with the safer version. I had to laugh wondering what twisted mind came up with this culinary monstrosity. At first I was skeptical about how it would taste. I just didn't think that exact combo of bread, beef and chicken would get along very well, but it smelled good, and after a few hesitant bites it wasn't so bad. It wasn't pretty, but the different textures and flavors came together in a surprising way.

Just remember if you do take this walk down the Dollar Menu wild side... be careful. Not all bowels are created equal.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Victories.

 I made it to Church yesterday.

Well... one hour of it anyway -- Sacrament Meeting.

Yeah, I know I should have just manned up and hit the whole three hour block, but I'm just glad I got myself out of the apartment. It would have been so easy to stay, but I really don't want to dive totally back into the welcoming arms of inactivity again.

Besides, the weeks I don't go to Church I feel as though I'm missing something. The singing of the hymns, and the still moments of the sacrament ordinance centers me somehow. I sat in the back, and didn't partake myself, but I felt benefited nonetheless.

I had no panic attacks, no cold sweats, and the only time I felt like rushing to the exit was when the Elder's Quorum President cornered me with the standard third degree about where I've been. He's well meaning, but were I to give him the real scoop on that subject I know I'd shock that shit eating grin right off his face. (Maybe, while I'm at it, I could also confess the fact that I think he's cuter than a tree full of Keebler Elves, and see what he makes of that!)

In retrospect it was nice to at least be asked about why I haven't been going. That tells me at lease someone in the ward knows who I am, and therefore, in some small, way I belong.

I'm making no promises, but I'll start gearing up to make it through 2 hours of Church next week.

And on a completely different subject -- 

Is it just me or was the MTV VMA's a whole lot more fun to watch when Kanye West was drunk on Hennessy? I'm just saying...

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Few of my Favorite Things.

What is greater than a genuine smile? Ones that manage to make it to our faces despite the mine field events of the day that normaly tear to shreds any good mood? Sometimes we need to shepherd those little smiles along to safety.

In light of previous posts that tended to indulge my negative side, I made a list of the things in life that make me smile. The following I wrote in one sitting, and were I to take more time I'm sure the list would more than double in size.

  1. Licking the mixing bowl.
  2. Werthers Candies, just like grandpa used to share.
  3. Paper chains made of construction paper.
  4. Warm towels and clothing fresh from the dryer.
  5. Singing along with family and friends while watching The Sound of Music. 
  6. A clean apartment
  7. Movie popcorn.
  8. Feeding bread to ducks. 
  9. Hot McDonald's french fries. 
  10. A cold winter night, warm blanket, and The Godfather in the DVD player.
  11. Flirting.
  12. The smell of rain.
  13. Chewing on ice from a fountain drink. 
  14. Watching Old faithful erupt. No matter how many times I witness it, it never fails to thrill!
  15. Kite-flying.
  16. Listening to an old audio tape from the past.
  17. Singing a favorite hymn in sacrament meeting.
  18. Holding hands wondering what's going to happen next. 
  19. The Lonely Island.
  20. Old outhouses on back roads.
  21. Jelly Belly Jellybeans -- I love taking a Peanut butter and a grape bean, eating them together and making a PB&J.
  22. Reading a great book the same time as a friend.
  23. Honey roasted chicken from that deli downtown. If the City of Enoch returned today and had a picnic, this is the fired chicken that they'd serve.
  24. Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds.
  25. Pushing a child in a swing. The look of joy in their faces remind me how great life can be.
  26. Road trips with my best friend.
  27. Talking about comic books, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost, or Lord of the Rings with someone I didn't know was a fellow geek.
  28. Frosting and cream fillings. 
  29. Watching iCarley with my nieces while tending them.
  30. Netflix.
  31. Running into someone who speaks the language I learned on my mission.
  32. Candles. My straight best friend tells me if he ever doubts I'm gay he looks around my apartment and sees all the candles I have everywhere.
  33. Mom's potato salad. 
  34. Skipping through commercials on my DVR.
  35. A fresh notebook, legal pad, or sketch book. I'm always thrilled by the possibility of the blank page.
  36. Actually I love office supplies of all kinds -- pens, markers, paperclips. In grade school my closest companion was my Trapper Keeper.
  37. Rainbow sprinkles on soft-serve.
  38. Finding something you've really wanted cheap at a yard sale or thrift store that you no longer can find for any price retail.
  39. Making balloon animals for my nieces and nephews.
  40. Listening to my mom try to tell a joke, only to get it all wrong. 
  41. Gathering on General Conference Sunday to watch the final session together as a family. 
  42. Prank videos on You Tube.
  43. Getting my feet rubbed. 
  44. Getting a nice new haircut.
  45. Homemade root beer. 
  46. Little House on the Prairie reruns. This is possibly the gayest thing on here, but I had a crush on the Albert character when I was a kid, and I've loved the show ever since.
  47. Finding a long lost friend on Facebook.
  48. New Shoes. 
  49. A day at Lagoon with friends. 
  50. Making a great meal in a Crock Pot or Foreman Grill. 
  51. The stark white of a winter morning. 
  52. Dutch oven cooking.
  53. Listening to a child pray or bear testimony.
  54. Listening to a child curse not knowing what they've said.
  55. MTV's Silent Library.
  56. Dancing in my underwear.
  57. Air conditioning.
  58. The feel of old books.
  59. Long hot baths.
  60. Seinfeld reruns.
  61. Fast-food made the way I ordered it.
  62. Cold ice cream over warm brownies. 
  63. Goosing someone or being goosed.
  64. Payday. 
  65. A hearty laugh.
  66. Being able to sleep in an extra couple of hours.
  67. Watching Bob Ross paint. (Happy trees! Happy clouds!)
  68. A good fight on The Real Housewives.
  69. My Dwight Schrute bobble-head. 
  70. Getting Final Jeopardy correct, especially when the three contestants get it wrong. 
  71. Reaching the top of the mountain and seeing the view was worth the climb. 

I hope everyone will consider taking the time to compile their own lists. Life is way too hard to live on frowns.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

That Day I Became a New Yorker.

I love New York City.

My sister worked in Washington D.C. for a time, and on one of my visits we got a rental car and drove up through New Jersey for a quick visit. I'd been places before -- overseas, and other large cities, but nothing had prepared me for the size and scale of the Big Apple.

My first glimpse came from a hazy distance. Shrouded in gray, two great landmarks book-ended the city: The Empire State Building on the left at one end, and The World Trade Center to the right. Coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel I was stunned. Having grown up in a town of less than a thousand people, it was hard for me fathom the scope of my surroundings.

Did man have the power to build such a place?

It was a whirlwind of a day. We gave a shout out home on the Today Show, saw a Broadway show, and ran the Island from one end to the other. We soaked in everything we could  within the short time we had to visit. Yet, it was from that first hazy morning view that the City had me. She won me over. That day I became a New Yorker.

So when the Towers fell, I too felt the ground rumble...

Watching the people flee, I too felt terror...

And as the dust cloud overtook them, I too felt choked by ash and smoke.

Nine years later, I take a moment to remember. May God grant peace to all who continue to suffer effects of that dark day, and may the memory of those who were lost remain bright in the hearts of those who loved them.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Time to Lighten Up!

So far my attitude on this blog has been kind of negative.

Reading back over the handfull of posts I've written so far, I'm struck with how dark they are. With nothing else to go on you might expect me to be some pissed off guy, struggling to break free of the black hole his life has become. Yes, that might be me on some days, but I don't think generally its a true reflection.

Honestly, I'm much more fun in person than the way I come off on this blog.

This has become a great place for me to just vent, something I'm not used to doing. I'm usually the one to take the role of diplomat among my family and friends. People are always looking  for a sympathetic ear to bend, yet seldom do I ever disclose any of what I have brewing under the surface. Maybe that's why I'm enjoying writing this blog. Regardless of if anyone ever reads this, it still feels good to let go of all my deep, hidden pockets of negativity. Sometimes you just gotta spew what's making you sick inside. It sure ain't pretty, but you're guaranteed to feel better after.

So, if I seem to be an angsty buzz-kill here, its mostly an illusion. I should post a disclosure at the top of the blog -- something like the one found on the outside side-view mirror of a car: "Caution: objects in this blog appear to be more miserable than they really are."

From here on out I promise to try not just constantly dump all my emotional crap. I want this to be a place of light and love as well.

On a personal note I emitted my rare gay clap and squeal when I saw I had gathered followers. The comments and emails have been enormously encouraging and supportive. Thank you all, and I hope to get to know everyone better soon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fathers and Sons.

I lost my dad two years ago yesterday.

Honestly, I didn't remember until my sister called to ask if I wanted to join her, my mom, and the other siblings who could make it, at the cemetery. They brought flowers, the grandchildren brought envelopes with pictures and letters, and I brought a 20 ounce caffeine free Diet Coke -- his beverage of choice. I opened it and "poured a forty" to his memory "gansta" style. That seemed to lighten what was a solemn mood, and soon we were laughing about the times he wasn't busy being a hard-ass.

It seems impossible its been two years.

My mother called me that morning in a panic. It was around 6 AM. She had just found her husband half out of bed, bleeding from the nose, and mumbling. She was terrified, and could only think to call me. I told her to go back to dad's side, and be ready to let in the paramedics. I called 911, and then rushed over to assess the scene. Even with prompt medical care he didn't last long. A massive stroke took him without warning -- shocking because I had just had dinner with him the evening before. He was in good spirits, despite a headache he mentioned in passing.

I'm grateful he and I were at least on speaking terms. We had a complicated relationship for a long time (to say the least), and had just begun to defrost the chill that had developed between us. He never knew about my my sexual identity troubles, but he easily found other reasons to be disappointed in me. I made great efforts to keep my life out of his line of sight, but he knew something was amiss. For my part, I held deep seated resentment toward him over issues from childhood. My other brothers and sisters eventually found ways to forgive him his mistakes. I was the lone holdout with problems letting go.

Things were far from healed berween us two years ago when he passed, but it comforts me to know we were making efforts. We shared his last meal together, and had a great time watching one of his favorite Bond films. When I left he actually hugged me and told me to drive carefully.

I don't believe we said I love you to each other that last visit, but I do remember feeling love for him, and from him.

I think... I hope he felt the same.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Post Traumatic Church Disorder.

I didn't go to Church today.

I don't have much of an excuse. I have a job that often precludes the ability to attend, but I was free today. Not that anyone would notice my absence. I'm a little paranoid, but I feel like the bishop sometimes makes a conscious effort to avoid me. Nevertheless, I should have gone to Church, but just thinking about walking into that chapel made me shudder.

Maybe I'm still gun-shy from the last time I went to Church -- about 3 weeks ago. It was midway through the second consecutive sacrament talk about the blessings of the Temple and families. I was on a side bench, without a family to sit with, and I started to hyperventilate. My own reaction surprised me. I'm usually thick skinned, and let little things run off me like water off a duck's back, but that day somehow the weakness in my armor was exposed. I'm sure the speaker meant no offense, but her comments struck a cord. I felt very much alone, surrounded by others who were obviously more worthy to have the blessings of children and a spouse.

Silently I kept asking do these people know how lucky they are?

Do they know what I would give to have what they have?

Listening to the self-satisfied tone of the talk I noticed my anger start to rise, and my face redden. There was something about the speaker's delivery that made me feel excluded; a stranger in my Church Home. I couldn't have felt anymore out of place if I had been wearing a Santa suit to Church in August.

I had to get out. There were thirty minutes to go before the closing hymn, but I couldn't sit another moment longer. Walking up the isle I had to resist the urge to speed walk to the exit in a panic, and in my car I had to sit for a minute while my heart rate normalized before I could drive away.

Then once alone in my apartment the questioning hit like a storm: am I doomed to an existence alone, unloved, and unremembered? How many more years of this can I take? I thought I'd wept all the tears I have on the subject. Why am I now suddenly so pathetic?

I'm just not ready to go back. I guess that's why I stayed home today.

There are Sundays when Church is just too painful to attend.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Obsessive Thought of the Day.

Someone told me today that fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails.

This has got me wondering two things...  

  1. Why did this person hand me this little nugget of knowledge in the first place?
  2. Why would fingernails be so over active compared to their stubby counterparts?

Its like a splinter in my head! I can't stop wondering about why that might be true. Is it because the longer the finger the faster it grows? Maybe it's because fingers get sunlight. or have better circulation? 

Perhaps, but I have a different theory... 

Maybe fingernails are just snotty, showboating bastards. They must feel so smug compared to their stubby counterparts. They get decked out in their fancy Lee Press On Nails, and then soaked in Palmolive while the toes are tucked away in an old tube sock, without so much so much as an Odor Eater.

Wake up toes! I know you can catch up!

Okay... now that I have that off my chest I can sleep.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stephen Hawking and God -- A Mormon Perspective.

There isn't a bigger name in science than Sir Issac Newton. His law of universal gravitation and three laws of motion laid the groundwork for modern science as we know it, but few know how religious he was. He wrote more extensively about theology than he did about the mechanics of science. Because of  Professor Newton, whenever the worlds of science and faith clash I try to remember one does not necessarily have to choose one over the other. Reason must be the foundation of any honest pursuit of truth.

So when I see banner headlines like Steven Hawking Says God Not Needed for Creation, I perk up a little bit.  Here we go again! Another spitball fight between the religious and secular. Defenses will go up, voices will be raised, making it all the more difficult to suss out anything either side has to say. Issac Newton would not be pleased.

I shouldn't even attempt to offer my opinion on the subject. This stuff is over my head, but let me give it a try. Don't worry -- my spitball shooter is put safely away.

In his new book, The Grand Design, Steven Hawking rejects Newton's theory that God must have been central to creation because our world couldn't have come out of chaos simply through nature. He writes that as long as the Laws of Physics are a constant, no Higher Being would be necessary to push the button on creating the universe. He states:

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going."

Translation: "In your face Issac Newton! Go find a tree to sit under and let a few apples hit your noggin while you have a think about that!"

As a Latter-day Saint I don't find myself terribly uncomfortable with Professor Hawking's new assertions. We believe that God is not above the Law nor is He beneath it. He is, however, subject to it. As with matter, it might be said He is co-eternal with it. The law of gravity could be among the many laws that have always existed, and exist independently from God. None of this displaces God as Creator. He is still the Lord and Creator over our existence, regardless of whether He Himself lit the fuse that kicked things off. The words of Hymn 284 seem to speak to Hawking's challenge, asking:

"Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity, 
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be? 
Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end?"

Consider that our concluding hymn. I'd better stop before we go into really deep waters. I never intended this blog to be the source for many doctrinal discussions, but whatever is on my mind is fair game.

Now I'd better "hie" my ass out of here... I'm running a little late. 

Let's Give a Big Whoot Woo to September!

I hate the heat!

The Lord must know it too because He didn't send me into a hot and sweaty jungle for my mission. I'd never have survived it. I spent my two years on the frozen tundra, where not even the sun wanted to show up three months of the year. It was cold, dark, and I loved it there. It was bearable because I've discovered its easier to get myself warmed up than get cooled down if I'm too warm.

That is why I always rejoice when September rolls around. I've had enough of the heat!

There's just something about the way the air feels as summer slips away. Its like my mind wakes up with the chill, and I become more alert as autumn takes hold. School is gearing up to start, my nieces and nephews talk about costumes and trick or treating, and before you know it I'm chowing down on a turkey leg at the State Fair like I'm King Henry the Eighth.

Even a simple walk up my street makes me feel like I'm living in a Robert Frost poem.

There is one thing I miss about summer, however, and I really hate having to come clean about it. September marks the end of board short and flip flop season. What is sexier than standing in line at the grocery store behind a guy with bare legs, tanned and covered with the perfect hint of manly fuzz? Ah! There's nothing better!  Yeah, I feel a little creepy for looking, but who of us is above taking some kind of a peek?

Sadly, all those naked legs are going to go into hibernation, but they always return in the spring.

I can always look forward to that.

First Things...

Introductions are sometimes tricky.

Ideally, they take place when the two people who have never met are brought together by a third party who knows them both. This isn't always possible. No one likes to walk into a situation for the first time with someone and face them cold and blind. We've all been there, dumbly staring at the other person, looking for words beyond the initial handshake. Awkward!

That's kinda like what a first blog post feels like.

What are the first things you need to know about me? (That is if anyone is reading this at all!)

The basics are simple.

First, I'm a Mormon!

Don't worry. There won't be many sermons here.

Not every post will deal with my Latter-day Saintliness, or lack there of, however I can't escape the fact that the Church looms large in my life. Its the context for most everything else about me, for good or for bad. It's set in my DNA. Chart my genetic code and you'll find it matches the sheet music for Come Come Ye Saints. All the way back in 1831, the missionary who introduced my family to the gospel, and baptized my my first ancestor was Joseph Smith himself. My family helped cleared the temple land in Kirtland, narrowly escaped tar and feathers in Independence, and rode beside Joseph and Hyrum to Carthage. As a child these were the fables told at my bedside, not ones by Aesop.

None of this is a secret to anyone who knows me, while the next basic truth about me is known to few.  

Second, I am gay.

Its still somewhat odd to just say it out like that, but its true! No doubt about it. I am homosexual.

I clung to the idea that I was just confused. Perhaps I was asexual, or at worst bisexual, but GAY?!!! It was unthinkable! How did that happen? I was a good kid. I kept out of trouble, never swore, paid 10% of my lawn mowing money back in tithing. How could I have carelessly stumbled onto this wayward path? It was agonizing -- the truth was soul killing. I pity the frightened boy I once was, and in retrospect cannot understand how my spiritual leaders were so naive and ill-prepared to offer guidance. (Don't get me started. we'll get into this later I'm sure.)

At thirteen the reality of my situation was clear, and I became desperate no one find out. I banished any hint of stereotypical gay mannerisms or behavior, and developed a straight act that was airtight. Not even the finest tuned gaydar could detect a thing. It still wasn't enough to erase the fear that someone might see something else behind my careful presentation.

The bulk of this time was spent alone. I withdrew from people, and  immersed myself in constant prayer and scripture study, reading The Bible twice, and the contents of the Triple Combination more than 4 times, all in the space of my 9th grade year. I begged to be healed, and was bewildered to find it had no effect whatsoever on my sexual desire toward other guys. How could that be? I had been assured that if I just put in the work, and have enough faith in the Savior I'd notice some kind of improvement. After all, I had a pamphlet by a General Authority, tucked away hidden, that said my problem was simple selfishness. Still, no matter how repentant I was, and no matter what joy I denied myself, I experienced no change in sexuality.

Even masturbation was strictly off limits. Like other Mormon boys I was told to whistle a hymn when temptations became overwhelming. I complied exactly, and as a result I knew every hymn in the book note for note. The desires, on the other hand, had to go somewhere, and soon they backed up like bad plumbing. Powerful and vivid, the wet dreams hit like a tsunami while I slept, and had me changing my sheets 2 or 3 times a week. They felt amazing, and of course I felt guilty for enjoying them, but controlling them was out of my hands... so to speak.

So! Here I am! Mormon and queer!  Two things no one in their right mind would never choose to be at the same time. If I could give one up and focus on the other that would be great, but I can't. I've tried to stop being gay, and for a time I've even attempted to take the Church out of my life, but I can't shake myself loose from either. I can't deny that I'm gay, any more than I can deny I'm Mormon. They are both part of me through and through to the core. Like the child King Solomon ordered to be cut in half, it is too great an amputation to cut one half from the other. It can't be done.

Other gay friends have left the Church over the years. For some the journey was easier than for others, and I find myself strangely envious of their ability to create a new life for themselves. The truth is I too might follow them across the theological border in a second if it were not for one inconvenient fact: I have a testimony. My heart tells me my place is to stay and somehow work for change from within. Who knows what the attitude might be toward homosexuals within the Church in twenty years, but I know that unless at least a few of us stay, change will be an even longer time coming.

Whew! This ended up a far longer than any introduction has any business being. I really should go back and edit this rant down to something manageable, but I'll probably just let it stand as is. There's a lot more I should tell you about myself, but there's no need to dump it all in one post.

More to come later!